• F+B Successfully Removes Trustee Who Stole Assets from Trust April 2018 - In a recent case in Dallas County, F+B represented beneficiaries of a Trust who successfully removed the trustee of the trust for having stolen assets from the Trust. At issue, the beneficiaries’ grandmother had created a trust for her daughter and grandchildren. She named her adult grandson as the trustee of the trust to take over management of the trust ...
  • F+B Represents Guardian in Significant Estate Tax Issues April 2018 - F+B recently represented the guardian of his great-aunt’s estate in Limestone County, Texas. The case involved a guardianship estate of approximately $13 million, which consistent of significant money generated from some oil and gas leases inherited from the great-aunt’s grandparents. The case became was complicated by the provisions of the grandparents’ Wills from the 1950’s. Under those Wills, the grandparents ...
  • F+B Represent Daughter Seeking Guardianship of her Elderly Mother March 2018 - F+B recently represented one of two daughters seeking guardianship of their elderly mother in Galveston County, Texas. In the case, F+B’s client had lived with her mother for the prior 3 years helping to take care of the ailing mother. During the time that they lived together, the mother’s condition had improved significantly, and the daughter had undertaken to make ...
  • F+B Represents Trust Beneficiary in Dispute with Trustee March 2018 - F+B recently represented an adult beneficiary of a series of trusts set up by his great-grandmother, who was the owner of a prominent Texas company. The trusts were set up to benefit generations of the family, but as happens in many families, a dispute arose as to the appropriate amount of distributions from the trust for one of the beneficiaries. ...
  • Bringing Expert Probate Judges to Small Counties February 2018 - One of the advantages to living in the 10 largest counties in the state is that those counties have dedicated probate judges who handle only probate, guardianship, and trust cases. Because of the limited focus of these courts, the judges are generally considered to be expert judges in probate and guardianship issues. Some of these judges are board certified in ...
  • F+B Keeps Case From Being Transferred to Wrong Court February 2018 - F+B was recently hired to represent the executor of his deceased father’s estate in Corpus Christi. In the case, the executor’s sister had filed a motion to try to have the case transferred to Harris County, alleging that her father died as a resident of Harris County. The father lived in Corpus Christi for approximately 30 years prior to his ...
  • F+B Settles Litigation Over Large Estate with Numerous Properties January 2018 - F+B has recently concluded its probate litigation representation of the surviving spouse of an elderly man who died in Bastrop County. Following his death, the Decedent’s children from his previous marriage contested his Will and the surviving spouse’s right to receive a portion of the estate. The Decedent and his wife married in 1996, and they lived in a home ...
  • F+B Welcomes Attorney Matt Baughman to Leads its Estate Planning and Administration Section January 2018 - F+B kicked off 2018 by welcoming attorney Matt Baughman as a Senior Associate to the Firm. Mr. Baughman is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate, and he has been selected to lead the firm’s Estate Planning and Administration Section as the Section Head. The Estate Planning and Administration Section of the firm handles the drafting of all of the estate planning documents for the firm’s clients as well as all of the uncontested probate, guardianship, and trust administration work in cases where no litigation is involved.
  • Legal Advice |Estate Planning Attorney | Houston Probate Attorney January 2018 - Three weeks into my career as an attorney, my first probate client walked into my office wanting to probate the Will of her deceased friend. When I looked at the Will, I immediately knew that we were going to have problems, and in fact, the probate of that Estate was the longest-lasting probate case of my career.
  • F+B Successfully Concludes 3-Year Guardianship and Trust Litigation Case January 2018 - F+B has recently concluded a very contentious guardianship and trust litigation case for a client that extended more than three-and- a-half years. In May 2014, F+B was retained to represent two siblings concerned that their sister was taking financial advantage of their uncle. The uncle never married or had any children of his own, and his nieces and nephew were ...
  • F+B Wins Decisive Victory in Court of Appeals December 2017 - December, 2017 On November 30, 2017, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of Coyle v. Jones.  In that case, F+B represented Karen Coyle who is one of 3 daughters of Frances Hutchens.  Frances and her husband Stuart created a trust in 1996 and transferred all of their assets into the Trust.  They named Karen as the ...
  • F+B Partner Don Ford Active in Legislative Session June 2017 - The regular session of the Texas Legislature concluded on May 31, 2017.  During the 5-month session, several bills were introduced that addressed guardianship issues.  F+B Partner Don Ford was very active in this year’s legislative session.  Prior to the session, Mr. Ford was asked to collaborate with senators regarding potential guardianship improvements.  His suggestions resulted in the introduction of several ...
  • F+B Wins Will Contest in Small East Texas Town June 2017 - June, 2017 Ford + Bergner LLP recently won a significant victory for a large client in a small town in East Texas. The case, which originally started out as a guardianship case, turned into a Will Contest when the proposed incapacitated person died. In the case, Dr. Michael Reichert was the beloved doctor of Mount Pleasant, Texas, two hours east ...
  • Ford + Bergner Attorney Wins 2 Trials June 2017 - June, 2017 In January and February 2016, F+B attorneys  won back to back trial victories in two different cases that had the same issue.  In both cases, F+B’s clients were attempting to probate a Will more than 4 years after the date of the Decedent’s death.  Generally, it is not possible to probate a Will more than 4 years later, ...
  • F+B Sends Opposing Counsel Running in Contested Guardianship March 2016 - March, 2016 Ford + Bergner LLP was recently hired to represent a client in a contested guardianship case in Collin County.  In the case, the client’s ex-husband filed for guardianship of their adult child.  The ex-husband, an attorney who was representing himself in the case, had obtained orders from the Court with improper evidence and without proper notice to all ...
  • Another F+B Lawyer Achieves Professional Distinction January 2015 - January, 2015 F+B Senior Associate T. Aaron Dobbs has become board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Estate Planning and Probate Law.  Mr. Dobbs was one of only 15 attorneys in the entire state of Texas to become Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law in 2014, and he achieved this distinction on his first attempt. ...
  • Houston Attorney Mr. T. Aaron Dobbs Honored by Texas Bar Foundation January 2015 - January, 2015 Mr. T. Aaron Dobbs with Ford + Bergner LLP has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation . Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of Texas. Election is a mark of distinction and recognition ...
  • How to Get Away With Breaching Your Fiduciary Duties November 2014 - November, 2014 It is often said that financial powers of attorney can be useful and inexpensive tools by which third parties are allowed to carry on the financial affairs of incapacitated persons.  While the prior statement is true, powers of attorney also grant broad and sweeping powers that can be misused. Click here for the full article
  • Ford + Berger’s Litigation Practice has Spectacular September October 2014 - October, 2014 F+B has closed out the month of September with a spectacular string of litigation successes for its clients. The following successes were achieved with the combined talents of all of the lawyers at the firm broken into teams handling litigation in several counties across Texas.  Below is a sample of these victories: •    Will Contest in Marlin, Falls ...
  • Managing Partner Don D. Ford III appointed to JBCC June 2014 - June, 2014 After serving on the Guardianship Certification Board since 2006, Ford + Bergner Managing Partner Don D. Ford III was appointed to the Judicial Branch Certification Commission by the Texas Supreme Court. The 9-member JBCC will combine the certification, registration, licensing, and compliance functions for court reporters, professional guardians, process servers, and licensed court interpreters.  The JBCC replaces the ...
  • F+B Speaks at South Texas College of Law Real Estate Conference June 2014 - June, 2014 Ford + Bergner LLP Managing Partner, Don D. Ford III, recently had the honor of being asked to speak at the 29th Annual Real Estate Law Conference hosted by South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas.  Most of those who attended the conference were attorneys who practice extensively in the real estate area.  Mr. Ford spoke to ...
  • F+B Houston Office Moving March 2014 - March, 2014 In conjunction with our 15th anniversary, Ford + Bergner LLP is excited to announce the relocation of our Houston offices to the iconic Bank of America building in downtown Houston.  With close proximity to the Harris County Courthouses and the heart of Houston’s booming economic center, our new offices complement our dynamic estate, trust and guardianship litigation practice ...
  • T. Aaron Dobbs Selected as Top Lawyer Under 40 in Texas Monthly Magazine March 2014 - March, 2014 T. Aaron Dobbs Selected as a Top Lawyer Under 40 in Texas Monthly Magazine T. Aaron Dobbs was recently recognized as a “Rising Star” in Estate & Trust Litigation in Texas Monthly Magazine’s 2014 Super Lawyers Rising Stars Edition.  Mr. Dobbs was one of only eight Estate & Trust litigators in the State of Texas chosen for this designation.  ...
  • Ford + Bergner Litigates Cases Across the State October 2013 - October, 2013 Ford + Bergner is a unique law firm because we are the only firm in the State of Texas that has offices in multiple cities practicing exclusively in the areas of estate, trust, and guardianship litigation.  Likewise, with 7 lawyers, F+B is one of the largest boutique estate and trust firms in the State.  As a result of ...
  • Don D. Ford III Asked to Serve on Supreme Court Task Force September 2013 - September, 2013 During the 2013 legislative session, the Texas Legislature enacted a new law that will combine 4 different regulatory specialty groups.  Among those groups is the Guardianship Certification Board, upon which Mr. Ford has served as a board member since 2006.  Under the new law, the functions of the GCB will be combined under one umbrella with 3 other ...
  • It’s Going to be OK: Transition to the New Estates Code July 2013 - July, 2013 The Texas Probate Code will be replaced in 2014 with the Estates Code – a newer model that promises to be more accessible, more understandable, and more usable. While the Estates Code is one of the biggest things to happen in Texas probate law in over a half century, here are a few tips to help your transition ...
  • Powers of Attorney: Licenses to Steal June 2013 - June, 2013 Financial powers of attorney can be useful and inexpensive tools by which third parties are allowed to carry on the financial affairs of incapacitated persons.  However, powers of attorney also grant broad and sweeping powers that can be misused.  Accordingly, this paper broadly examines practical problems in the use of powers of attorney (or, in other words, why ...
  • Estate Planning Makes Tax Sense February 2013 - February, 2013 Start planning now to protect the assets that you’ve spent long years earning By Jackie Ingles “Anyone with substantial assets in a small business should consider making gifts of their interest in the business during their lifetime to their children . . . If done correctly, the business owner can remove these assets from his estate while still ...
  • Don D. Ford III | Christopher B. Heald | Probate Case August 2012 - August, 2012 F+B litigators Christopher B. Heald and Don D. Ford III have just returned a win in a tough contested probate case in Beaumont, Texas.  Most notably, however, is that the lawsuit was originally filed in 2004, but F+B was not hired until February 2012.  We were hired on a Monday morning for a trial set to begin 2 days later.  ...
  • Don D. Ford III | Guardianship | Texas House Judiciary | Civil Jurisprudence Committee July 2012 - July, 2012 On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, F+B Managing Partner Don D. Ford III was invited to testify to the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee.  He was there testifying as a representative of the Texas Guardianship Certification Board, which was created by legislative action in 2005.  Mr. Ford provided the committee with background as to the Board’s purpose and function, ...